Fort Weyr - Southwestern Bowl
The dominant feature of the southern end of the bowl is the blue lake that fills the entire southern tip and the rockslide that tumbles down into its far side. It has been many, many, turns since the slide took place, but it still stands uncleared to this day. Occasionally, smaller pebbles tumble down to splash into the waters of the lake below, but the mass seems mostly stable. Sturdy fences mark the feeding pens that the dragons may choose their meals from, located against the west face. The beasthold here is minor, small cramped buildings, used mostly to maintain the herds which feed the dragons. The major beasthold is located out in the forests, just outside the Weyr. There's a sign which warns "that beasts in this location are fair game to the dragons" and that any domestic pleasure stock should be kept in the major beasthold location.
The other feature that does not go unnoticed in this bowl is the large cavernous archway. There seems to be cobble stone laid down near the archway, which causes a clatter when the wagons and trading caravans arrive. Indeed, it seems that there's a tunnel out of the bowl here, wide enough for two trader caverns to fit through and possibly a small blue dragon. To the opposite end, the great bowl stretches away far, leading to some very interesting locations.

It may be nearing more of the end of wintertime — though in the Fort area, that could easily mean winter weather's going to last another month — but while the terrible snowstorms are letting up, the lake hasn't thawed. And the snow hasn't stopped falling, it's just a light fall that dusts the air, at present. Mirinda is standing by the lakeside, clad in a long dress, snowboots, jacket, fuzzy hat and muff, watching a group of young children including her own skate. "Careful, now, Rathean," she calls out as one of them almost stumbles, but rights himself. There's another tiny cringe as her own Taimri nearly crashes into another little girl, but as she misses, Mirinda breathes a little easier.

Some people should never be allowed out in the snow; some people should never be allowed near the ice; some people have reputations for the nearly-omnipotent ability to remain upright even when they really, really shouldn't. And at least Zhirayr's classic all-black ensemble is a) seasonally-appropriate in terms of thick layers and b) visible from a moderate distance in the snow, right? He's come outside to watch the kids playing, just to relax for a few; he wasn't expecting to see Mirinda, so when he does — well, he freezes. Not literally, obviously, but — he's somewhere in her peripheral vision, a moving black human figure that is now pointedly not moving.

After a moment, Mirinda notices; it's not clear if it's that she actually notices that it's him specifically, or just that something not quite in her central line of focus has changed. When she turns in that direction, she registers him and offers the briefest of hesitant smiles that he might not actually see before turning back to face the kids. Once upon a time, last winter, he told her he loved the look of the snowflakes in her hair — hopefully he's forgotten. She hasn't.

Yeah, no, neither has he. But he's going to be brave enough to stick to his plan; it's pure circumstance, naturally, that she happens to be standing right next to where he'd been intending to stand. Of course. "Good day, Weyrhealer," Zhirayr murmurs, and looks resolutely toward the kids without actually seeing them very closely.

Titles. Well, that's a burn. It's not one Mirinda doesn't understand she deserves, however. "Steward," she says with a polite nod, the same sort of polite nod she gives the Headwoman when they run into each other. They're all relative lower caverns higher-ups, tops of their own domains, even if hers is smaller than theirs … it's casual politeness. Of course, with Talica, Mirinda's casual politeness is also still comfortable.

"Fine weather today," Zhirayr tries, and regrets promptly. Why is he trying to talk to her? She broke his heart and led the inquisition that believed he killed his mentor. Nothing good is going to come of this conversation.

Mirinda did her job, and she hadn't liked doing it, thank you very much. "It's good for them," is what she says, laughing; laughing earnestly. She isn't a terribly huge fan of snowfall, though she also isn't someone who outright dislikes it.

"And soon enough, good for the rest of us," Zhirayr more-or-less agrees. "Mud season, which means fresh vegetables again. Maybe the rabbits will leave the caverns long enough to destroy the gardens, and fall into traps of dismay, and then we'll have vegetables and an endless parade of rabbit stew." Small talk means they don't have to actually talk about anything important, right?

They don't actually have to talk at all — Mirinda is good at silence, personable and not — but if it's Zhirayr's choice to talk, he can continue to talk, and she's going to continue to respond. "I think most people here actually like rabbit stew, even if it was getting old for a while. I know I do." She has a good recipe for it … but he already knows that, too.

Zhirayr goes silent for a long moment, as the kids shriek and scramble on the ice, and then rather abruptly: "This is still awkward. Isn't it." It isn't a question, because he doesn't see how she could possibly argue, but — well, maybe she'll try.

"Yes," Mirinda does not argue.

"Are you ever going to admit I didn't do it?" Zhirayr asks rather tightly.

What Mirinda says instead is, "I am about to take another trip to the Hall to inquire as to where those results are, it should've been weeks if not over a month ago that it was finally sorted." Can she admit he didn't do it, when she has no proof in any direction? No.

"And when is that going to be." Zhirayr just wants to put all of this behind him, at this point. Nobody's letting him, not while it's still in question. "And, for that matter, has anyone ever figured out how old he actually was?"

"Eighty-two." Mirinda can answer the second question without faltering, voice calm and the sort of collected that is attached to delivering information. "You were listed as his next of kin, considering the steward before him was his father, and I think he saw you as his heir — but of course the Harpers won't release the will, either, until the matter of cause of death is resolved, which … last I heard, someone had lost a file. I wish I'd never taken this job, Fort is full of bad luck." It's hard to tell if she's serious.

Zhirayr can't, actually, answer that just yet; it's funny how grief catches you — it isn't so much that he was listed as next of kin so much as the line about being Lycander's heir, and now he's all choked up again. He loves his actual parents very much, and they're both alive and well and active about the Weyr in relevant, important, non-riding staff positions — but Lycander was his mentor, back when the man was in full possession of his wits, and he misses him. "You," he manages after a few minutes, "were some good luck." Had seemed to be, anyway.

"I don't know about that." At least, with tincture of time and this moment, now, Mirinda finally gets it a little (and maybe she's been listening to C'rus more than usual). "I really am … I'm so sorry for your loss, Zhirayr. I wish I hadn't had to come at you about it the way I did."

"And I wish I knew how to make that stop hurting." Well, that's a little raw, isn't it? Zhirayr looks, a little, like he wishes he hadn't just said that, too — but the words are already out there, and chances are it isn't cold enough for them to freeze solid and fall to the ground between them before ever reaching her ear. Crap.

Unfortunately for him, Mirinda doesn't say anything back to that. She lets the moment trail off and drop, watching the children — including her child — and waving a little when a couple of them make eye contact with her. Eventually she sighs, growing uncomfortable in the silence she's created, but uncertain how to break it.

Maybe it will be her daughter who breaks it, in the end — she's probably the one Zhirayr is watching most closely, of the kids out there on the ice. And she isn't, at least, falling through the ice. "Taimri is looking good," Zhirayr eventually suggests. He can't, actually, look at her mother, even now. Not directly.

Taimri doesn't even fall, through the ice or not; just a few little stumbles here and there. "She practices," is all Mirinda says.

"Perhaps," Zhirayr murmurs — does Mirinda even hear him? — "that's what we need to do." By which he does not mean they need to practice ice-skating on the lake, although presumably anyone hearing him would think that. Unless they know better, anyway. Does she? Does he know what he actually means? He sighs.

… no. At least, Mirinda doesn't. "Practice?" she echoes, trying to follow. She's actually looking at him now, though, head canted to the side a bit in obvious confusion.

"In talking to each other again," the Steward elucidates — sounding a little bit glum, actually, come to think of it. "We're supposed to, after all, from a professional standpoint. And it would probably help us both if we could cut down on how awkward it is to do so, whether or not we ever need to speak on a non-professional basis again."

"Is that —" Whatever Mirinda was going to say, she has given up on it. "You'll have to start with actually being able to physically face me, I think," comes with a little bit of a laugh, because, okay, he dumped her. She is at this point pretty sure he isn't a murderer, and is not having issues looking at him.

"Am I going to find out the actual cause of death, and that I've been cleared, from you, or from the Harper who shows up to tell me about his will?" Zhirayr asks, after a pause, his gaze flicking to her face — briefly — before looking back out over the ice once again.

"If you want to find out from me, you will," was Mirinda's only response. The expression he got when their eyes met was sympathetic, kind. "And if you don't, I won't speak to you of it. That's your decision." She wasn't against it.

"I meant," the Steward mutters somewhat acerbically, gaze dropping to their feet, "were you going to come find me and tell me as soon as you knew, or was I going to be stuck waiting to find out if anyone knew, until someone who I don't know shows up to tell me about it in the dry voice you give to strangers when you're telling them news about someone they desperately care about having died?" You know. Somewhat acerbically.

Again, Mirinda sighs, but it's quieter and more apprehensive than anything. "I will, if you indicate that you'd like me to, but as you were the one who told me not to speak to you I'm not going to approach you unless I'm clearly welcome. Which is a call you need to make." Now would be good.

Zhirayr, meanwhile, holds his silence for another long moment, actively considering his words, and considering his words before, and considering what to actually make of them, and which ones are more important, when all is said and done, and — nods.

Pursing her lips, Mirinda nods back — the children are starting to head inside, and she really should too, but it's almost as if she's waiting for something. A confirmation, maybe? That's a thing she can make herself; she aims for, "I'll let you know, then, when I do."

Zhirayr — nods, again, and turns his head to actually fully look at her, for pretty much the first time in the entire conversation. "Thank you, Healer," he murmurs, searching her expression intently — not that he's sharing with the class just what he's looking for. "I appreciate that." What's he going to do with that information, when he has it? He isn't sharing — whether that's the whatever-it-is he's looking for in her expression, or the results of the reading of the will, whenever that actually happens. Maybe he'll even want her there beside him again, by then. He has no idea.